Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008...2:21 pm

10 Most Expensive Paintings in the World

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10. $78,100,000. Pierre-August Renoir – Le Moulin de la Galette. At the time of its sale in 1990, it was the second most expensive painting ever sold. This masterpiece even went to the same person that bought number one at the time, Daishowa Paper Manufacturing Co. chairman Ryoei Saito. Again, he wanted this one cremated with him as well, but his companies ran into problems with loans and debt so it had to be sold on as collateral.

9. $80,000,000. Jasper Johns – False Start. Another painting formerly owned by Geffen and allegedly sold to CEO of the Citadel Investment Group, Kenneth C. Griffin, making it the most expensive painting to be sold by a living artist, the iconic Jasper Johns.

8. $82,500,000. Vincent van Gogh – Portrait of Dr. Gachet. Up for auction in 1990 and purchased by Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito, this was – at the time- the most expensive painting in the world. Saito (then 75) caused controversy at the time, stating that when he died, he’d have the painting cremated along with him. This was later cleared up as he claimed that he was only using the expression to show his intense affection for it.

7. $86,300,000. Francis Bacon – Triptych, 1976. Breaking the previous sale record of his work ($52.68 million), Bacon’s 3-piece masterpiece was sold to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, smashing the previous estimate of $70 million.

6. $87,900,000. Gustav Klimt – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II. The only model to be painted twice by Klimt and sold a few months after the first version, this portrait of Bloch-Bauer was part of a lot in 2006 of four Klimt paintings that went on to fetch a total of $192 million. Buyer unknown. Click Here and go compare other paintings by Gustav Klimt.

5. $95,200,000. Pablo Picasso – Dora Maar au Chat. Another Picasso, the second highest price ever fetched at auction, and another anonymous buyer. Auctioned in 2006, a mysterious Russian bidder took this home (along with a Monet and a Chagall, spending over $100 million) and no one has since found out who he was. The ownership of the painting has still not been made public.

4. $104,200,000. Pablo Picasso – Garçon à la pipe. So far the highest price a painting has ever fetched at auction (as the others were all sold privately), and was the first painting to break the $100 million barrier (it was sold in 2004, whilst 1-3 were all in 2006). The strange thing is that it was never made public as to who expressed such an interest in Picasso’s portrait of a smoking Parisian.

3. $135,000,000. Gustav Klimt – Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I. This was sold by Maria Altmann, who – after a lengthy and complicated court battle – was deemed rightful owner of this Klimt and several others. Altmann was named as an inheritor of the painting in the will of by the widowed husband of the model herself, despite the efforts of the Austrian State, as Adele Bloch-Bauer had originally left the painting to the State Gallery in her own will. The painting was bought by Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie in New York, to be the centerpiece of a collection of Jewish-owned art rescued from the Nazi looting that took place in the Second World War.

2. $137,500,000. Willem de Kooning – Woman III. Another painting sold by Geffen in 2006, but this time bought by billionaire Steven A. Cohen. It is part of a series of 6 painted by de Kooning in the period of 1951-53, which revolved around the theme of a woman, and is allegedly the only Woman still in private hands.

1. $140,000,000. Jackson Pollock – No.5, 1948. It is claimed by the New York Times that this painting was sold by David Geffen (of Geffen Records), to David Martinez (managing partner of Fintech Advisory). However, a press release issued on behalf of Martinez states that he didn’t actually purchase the painting. So the truth is shrouded in mystery, and it can only be rumored to have sold for a record-breaking $140 million. Although by looking at it, it’s not something I’d be reaching for my tesco credit card or Vanquis credit card in order to buy.


  • 140 million dollars for what appears to be various types of poop!??

  • thank you for presenting these wonderful paintings. one would normally not see these in their life time.

  • Why would the Pollock be listed at #1 if it’s only “rumored” to have been sold for $140 million?

  • hahahahahah

  • I could almost swear I saw the Jackson Pollack at The Cleveland Museum of Art several years ago as part of their regular exhibit.

  • Clearly I dont understand from art… Espicially after seeing the #1

  • They are not the most expensive painting, merely the paintings that have gotten the highest prices during recent sales. The sales prices aren’t even adjusted for inflation, so the ones that sold more recently appear to have sold for more than they did.

    There are droves of painting all over the world that could fetch comparable prices, and many that could sell for much more. They just aren’t being sold.

  • The japanese man who had the picasso cremated with him is now burning in hell.

  • Sorry van gogh, my bad.

  • mind blowing figures, but………gorgeous art. I saw the Adele Bloch Bauer I at the Neue last year. Simply breath taking.

  • Proof positivity. If you can remember a Jackson Polack piece then you must have it in your house. Even he doesn’t remember them.
    The point about it all is, that everyone would love to be an accomplished artist. So instead of creating their own they buy famous pieces and pretend to be knowledgable.
    One of the biggest surprises I experienced as an opera singer many years ago was the comment I got from Gianni Agnelli the boss of the Fiat group.
    Here was a man who had all the material trappings and yet he said to me ” Raymond, I would give anything to sing like you”
    So they support the arts by buying the best seats and paying exhorbitant amounts for paintings.
    Of course if you happen to own a piece and let a gallery exhibit it you get far more traffic than facebook. Have a good one. The Baldchemist

  • I dun get it
    I understand its an investment
    Even if I was rich i wouldnt waste money on art
    or expensive wine

  • hey mozey at least its better than paying 80,000,000$ for that canvas of radioactive birdshit!
    (no 9)

    I’m glad to see that garcon pipe painting from picasso up here its one of his most unique paintings. oh and if you think these price tags are big think about all the other paintings that cant even BE sold because they are worth so much. (Mona Lisa etc. )

  • I’m an artist myself, and seeing some of these compared to the hard work of other artists appalls me.

    Is one so inclined to believe that a mess of colors against the excruciating amounts of hours learning to depict detail after countless detail for a piece has more worth?

    You may call them gorgeous, but I only see the successful attempts to brainwash society into believing something has greater worth than it actually has, thus making gullible people spend unbelievable amounts of money on a single piece.

    Where’s the justice of people who take the time and make something convey a better message than, “Hey, I’m a jumbled mess of lines and colors supposed to represent something vague, so buy me simply because I’m dramatized as a deep, mysterious story.”

    Might as well believe that the big invisible man in the sky hasn’t killed more people than the invisible man in the ground.

  • web design company
    September 8th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Rather costly! :)

  • Yes, and how much does Tiger woods get for whacking a little white ball around…?

  • Ok ! I believe you, but with the exception of the Le Moulin de la Galette, I wouldn’t give any money for that.

  • I know many people don’t really get Jackson Pollock, and I must admit that I don’t always get it myself, but I’ve known people who adamantly dismissed his work for most of their lives before breaking down in tears in front of one of his paintings upon seeing it in person.

  • Most modern art is like the king’s new clothes – especially Pollock

  • You forgot Thomas Kinkade. (hahahaha)

  • “Where’s the justice of people who take the time and make something convey a better message than, “Hey, I’m a jumbled mess of lines and colors supposed to represent something vague, so buy me simply because I’m dramatized as a deep, mysterious story.”
    It’s not the artist fault if your so closed minded that you cant see beauty in lines, color and form.
    Pretty pictures of ponies and flowers are stale and unimaginative.
    the people who buy work such as theses are supporting innovation and ingenuity.
    I sure could use a nice benefactor with a fat wallet to support the work I do.

  • Pollock’s piece is so valuable due to its significance in the history of art. (Which is true of all of these pieces.) We are all familiar with modern abstracted kinds of art, but in Pollock’s day this was a huge leap forward. He caused people to really expand their conceptions of what a painting is, does and can be. His paintings challenge and excite us. (Just take a look at how excited people have gotten in these comments.)

    Worth. every. penny.

  • wonderful paintings. great article.

  • It’s amazing that the paintings get progressively uglier as they get more expensive. I have a dropcloth that looks similar to Pollock’s “painting”. Do you think I could get $140 million for it?

  • There should be laws against people burning Art so they can “take it with them”. They are international treasures and should be treated as such.Some of the paintings, I personally don’t see anything more than paint splashed on a canvas by an epileptic Chicken with paint on its feet! Others, I find spellbinding with it’s contrasts and lines. I guess that is why my art is working with wood. And I don’t use a chainsaw to carve with!!

  • The Jackson pollack at no 1 is upside down.

  • mike,

    Actually it’s your monitor.

  • What the hell it is, u mean just for a nonesence painting one should pay this amount of money this is just stupidity to pay 140,000,000 $ for a line in line.

  • Art is expression. If you were an artist you would understand that. How much they sell for is irrelevant.

  • I’m common like most of the people. I don’t understand modern art. Definitely don’t get Pollock. But, it doesn’t matter. Because those who do, really appreciate and understand the meaning of abstraction. I applaude them for that.

    We have to keep in mind that these paintings were offered for auction (private or public). Many masterpieces are properties of national museums and cannot be auctioned off, such as Mona Lisa. I read an article claiming that the insurance value for Da Vinci’s most famous work was more than 600 millions in 2006 (inflation adjusted).

  • I Hope the world can keep up with these great works of art and the Phat Cats that own them take reel good care of them as there collector value will sky rocket as our tech no world waves over old school art with animation computer generated movies. i went in to a comic book store last week with my seven year old daughter to show her what is was like before there all gone. this hand drawn art may be lossed with the tides of strip malls going in all over texas these days. but us texas love spending all our oil money on fancy painting bought at big old fashion auction where work is done by man with gavels. and as a seller of collectible i love to hear about outragous prices its like caviar dreams.

  • Not bad… Not bad.

  • u give me 1 million and i give u better painting

  • A fool and his money are soon parted

  • i wil name my daughter mona lisa so she can be worth that hehehehe.

  • badha painters chodu. and buyers mahachodu

  • what about “the card players” by cezanne? that was sold in 2011 at $250,000,000 surely that should be at number 1

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